I want to say that the days blend together, that all these months in, we are in the great slog of parenthood, of diapers and cereal and naps and tantrums and crawling, standing, baby-proofing.
But the fact is, every single day is different. Every day is new, and the tiny little girl I left this morning will, I’m pretty sure, be different when I get home tonight.
It’s wonderful and jarring and unexpectedly joyous—and sometimes super-frightening, in that existential just-what-in-the-hell-am-I-doing kind of way.
No one can ever explain what it feels like, that moment your child just absolutely loses her mind when you walk in the room. Collins started that young, at daycare, when I’d pick her up. Once I wrap her up in my arms, there’s no setting her down. And that has nothing to do with the care she gets. Morning drop-offs already seem like she’s a teenager, ready for us to stop embarrassing her and get out the door. It’s just that after time, Jess and I are the ones she wants.
I’ve never loved anything more. And nothing has ever made me feel quite so afraid, this tiny child that needs me (and Jessica) more than she needs any other thing in the world.
It’s winter now, just hinting at a spring to come, and we’re often house-bound. As a result, Jessica and I restlessly talk about our days, and dream about the future.
The future. I’ve never been anything but nebulous about it. In the weeks before I met my wife, I dropped a bunch of internal truth bombs on myself about just what I was looking for in a significant other, and the only one of those Jessica seemed to meet is that she loves me. It turns out my specific “truth bombs” were about my fears, not my hopes, so they fell seriously far of the mark. Thus, the efficacy of serious plans sometimes seems ludicrous.
Do our plans even matter? Or are we just spinning in an infinite loop of requirement vs. desire? Of fear vs. hope. These are not a rhetorical questions, because we truly want change in our lives. We want a our girl to know something different than we feel we have right now. More space, more time, more…freedom I guess.
After 18 months, we finally understand some of the weight of that overwrought cliché all new parents hear: “The days are long but the years are short.”
I realize that I’m talking in circles here. I’m not trying to avoid specifics—there are no specifics, just vague longings we both feel, but can’t put our fingers on when we try to define them.
Maybe it’s the frisson between all our former desires and the new addition of an all-important child. What I want for me (and even for my wife) is so often subjugated to what we want for Collins. “The last will be first” and all that. I want that attitude to permeate, but some days it’s just hard to pull off.
But we plan, regardless. We love as fiercely as our sleep-deprived, addled bodies and minds let us. But most importantly, we dream in hope, because the dreams any of us have for our family, those are what change the world we live in.
Dreams. Hope. Love.